The conversation came to an abrupt halt. We had been driving for a couple of hours and topics and interests had overlapped and looped around. I have been on road trips with this woman before and it was always easy to find something to discuss.
A new passenger had now been with us for about fifteen minutes. I did not know her. She was quiet and had not contributed much to the conversation, so far, it soon became clear that several topics were off limits.
This was unfortunate. I love gabbing and pointing out scenery. Now there did not seem to be a common subject outside of our work. I don’t like discussing work when it wasn’t necessary, so I had become quiet as well.
It is one thing to recognize that we are all different and that is OK. It is something totally different to find things to talk about. I go by the axiom that the discussion does not really begin until the point of disagreement, but not everyone feels this way. It had become clear that with this third person in the car, I was the ONLY one that still felt that way. Anyhow, the rules had changed. The lively disagreements were not tolerated. I sat quietly and contemplated the fact that as social creatures we are so worried about not being accepted that we often miss chances to be authentic and really get to know one another.